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Radio legends Steve and Karen share advice with students

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Published on 09 April 2024

Steve and Karen in the Spark Studio
Steve and Karen in the Spark Studio

Media Production students at the University of Sunderland had the chance to talk to Metro Radio and TFM, soon to be Hits Radio North East, breakfast show presenters Steve and Karen about their careers and how to progress into the radio industry.

Karen, who graduated from the University with a Media and Communications degree in 1998, said: “It’s brilliant to be back and it’s lovely to see how much more development there is in Sunderland.

“It’s just fantastic to see this, especially the media and radio courses because obviously that’s my first love.”

Steve and Karen also got to see some of the facilities on offer to students, including the University’s community station Spark in the Media Centre at St. Peter’s Campus.

 Steve said: “We see from the student radio awards every year Spark always does really well.

“Nowadays, even compared to what it was 10 years ago, the stuff that you guys do here offers the whole thing. Not just the radio side of things, you’ve got the TV and other bits of media that go with it.

“Sunderland, and the north-east, are very lucky that we have got this here.”

Alumna Karen added: “I think when you have industry standard equipment and studios like Spark it’s great because you go out into the world of work already equipped to do the job.”

Students also had the opportunity to ask questions that ranged from how to get into the radio industry to presenting technique.

Bobbi Bunker, who studies BA Media Production, said: “The chat with Steve and Karen was uplifting and motivating.

“As someone from the north-east with aspirations of working in radio, it made me feel like nothing is out of reach for me if I put the work in.

“It’s refreshing to see, although they are some of the nation’s best broadcasters, their feet are still firmly on the ground and are open to giving the next generation any help they can.”

Dr Caroline Mitchell, Professor of Radio and Participation at the University, said: “I’m delighted that Karen and Steve have come to Spark and the University. Many people will have grown up listening to their breakfast show and they are fantastic role models for aspiring presenters.

“I’ve been at the University so long that I remember teaching Karen on her degree. What I remember is that she was willing to volunteer for any radio opportunity available to get that important experience.

“Students get so much benefit from having access to Spark at the University as part of their undergraduate and master’s programmes in Radio, Audio Podcasting and Journalism.

“They can try out every kind of programme making role in the studio, on outside broadcasts and prerecorded forms like radio drama and making radio jingles and promos. We know from radio and podcast employers that it is these experiences that makes them 'industry ready’.”

For more information on studying Radio, Audio and Podcasting at the University of Sunderland, visit: https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/study/media/postgraduate-radio/